Buoyant bananas save lives of ferry disaster victims

You might not think of the humble banana as a viable alternative to a life-jacket, but for one teenager a bunch ensured he was one of the lucky few to survive a ferry disaster in Indonesia.

Rudi Alvian, who was a passenger on the Teratai Prima, which capsized during a cyclone on Sunday, said he would have drowned if he had not found the bunch. "I was below deck," said the 17-year-old. "A bunch of bananas belonging to other passengers helped me float until I found a lifeboat."

A fellow passenger, Muhammad Yusuf, has spoken about how he was also saved by the fruit. Mr Yusuf, 38, used bunches of bananas as a makeshift raft, and ate them to stave off hunger. He floated for 27 hours before being found by fishermen. He told AFP news agency: "I jumped into the sea before the ship turned upside down... I managed to survive by telling myself that I have to stay alive for my two children and my wife. I'm very grateful God has given me the chance to live."

Rescue teams spent yesterday searching in vain for any further survivors and authorities have played down the chance of finding any more passengers alive. Currently at least 34 of the more than 250 on board have been rescued, and one body recovered.

The 700-tonne vessel was travelling overnight to Samarinda in East Kalimantan. It capsized around 30 miles off western Sulawesi. Indonesian authorities said an investigation has already started into why the captain of the ferry had apparently ignored weather warnings.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Account Manager

£30 - 38k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a digitally focussed Account Man...

Recruitment Genius: Legal Secretary - Family Law

£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing professional legal pr...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Java

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting and disruptive co...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP / MySQL / HTML / CSS

£23000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, this digital ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935